Women We Have Learned From: Auburn and South Carolina Respond

In honor of Women’s History Month, writers from Her Campus Auburn and Her Campus South Carolina shared stories about women they have learned from in their life.


“The biggest role model in my life is my sister, Jen. She is constantly living out her favorite quote, ‘you have to be the change you wish to be in the world.’ She’s done that by introducing my family to conflict mineral awareness or by teaching me about feminism from a young age. Her kindness extends far beyond our family, and to those in need. She wakes up early every Saturday to volunteer at local soup kitchens and help those who are less fortunate. I love my sister and the light she brings to the world!Courtney Cantrick, University of South Carolina



“Growing up in Girl Scouts, I learned a lot about myself because of Juliette Low, the founder of Girl Scouts. This organization teaches girls to be strong and confident. An awesome organization like this should have never been limited to just boys. It took a lot of work for her to introduce this kind of feminism in her time period, and that is something to admire.” -Ingrid Schnader (‘18), Auburn University


“I know that it's pretty cliché to say but my Mom definitely taught me a lot about what it means to be a strong woman. I grew up an Army brat and for the first half of my life my Dad was overseas majority of the time. With my Dad being gone so often, my Mom really had to fill the role of both parents at home for both my sister and me. Looking back on it now she worked really hard to keep our lives together all alone and she had to put off a lot of her own dreams to do it. When my Dad was getting ready to retire my Mom finally had the chance to follow her dreams and she began Nursing School. She graduated at the top of her class and is an incredible nurse. She played a key role in me deciding that I wanted to be a STEM major and that I am fully capable of doing it.” -Samantha Bennett (‘20), Auburn University


“My mom was a Naval aviator, while my Dad was also a pilot in the Marine Corp. I was always proud to have parents who served in the military, but people always assumed my father was the only one in military, and were surprised to find out that my mother was also a jet pilot. She always handled this gracefully. She taught me that women can do anything, but that you must be strong and willing to make sacrifices. She ended up sacrificing furthering her career in the military in order to have my brothers and I. I’m so proud of her steadfastness and her bravery, and also her compassion and selflessness. She’s taught me that it’s possible to be a strong, independent woman, and also a dedicated mother and wife. Don’t ever let society underestimate you.”

-Grace Harkin (‘19), Auburn University


“One of the most influential women in my life has been my mentor Melissa. We refer to her as my fairy-godmother, and it really couldn't be more true. She has taught me the true meaning of leadership and showed me how to live my life not only for myself, but for others. I hope that one day I have the chance to be for another girl what Melissa was for me.” -Gabrielle Powers, University of South Carolina


“When I was younger, I constantly butted heads with my mom and was a self-proclaimed ‘daddy's girl.’ But as I have grown and experienced more in life, I have discovered how utterly necessary my mom's presence is to me. Through her own actions and constant words of wisdom, she has taught me how to remain strong in the face of adversity, use laughter as a source of medicine, and love myself unconditionally.” -Kaitlyn Finn, University of South Carolina


“A woman who has given me a lot of guidance and taught me a lot about life came to me in an unexpected setting. Not everyone expects their boss to be more than just that, a boss, but mine did. I've been working with Katie for about a year now as her intern, and instead of just being a boss, she's turned into so much more. I never imagined someone who's supposed to be just my boss to end up being such a great friend, role model, and someone to look up to. It's just proof that "bosses" can turn into so much more if you're willing to make a connection with them.” -Page Buckman, University of South Carolina


“Many women have impacted my life, but I would have to say that my high school student council advisor is definitely at the top of the list. Everyone claims that they have a "second mom," but she was truly like a second mom to me. There was never a moment she wasn't listening, encouraging, supporting, laughing...or making a sarcastic comment. As a girl holding an executive position, I looked to her as a source of strength when I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously. She always guided me to believe in myself and my goals!” -Shaye Gulotta, University of South Carolina


“I never truly understood a woman’s role in leadership until I learned about Eleanor Roosevelt.  Until then, no other First Lady had taken a substantial role in influencing her husband’s presidency. She was passionate and assertive. I have used those two ideals as I’ve grown into leadership positions to influence those around me and reshape the positions I’m in.” - Amelia Waddell (‘20), Auburn University


“Lana Del Rey is my role model because she's true to herself. She's not afraid to let people know exactly what she's feeling, may that be good or bad. Lana embraces her flaws and uses them to her advantage, transforming them into attributes. Lana is faithful to her spirit.” -Katie Ann Kinslow, University of South Carolina


“My role model is Detective Olivia Benson from Law & Order: SVU. She is empathetic, driven, personable, and super kickass! Even as the only woman in her unit the for majority of her career, she is able to hold her own. I admire her because she balances her work between her professional rules and personal morals in order to make the world a better place and hold all people to equal standards – in the criminal justice system and in life in general.” -Annie O'Halloran, University of South Carolina



“I will forever be grateful for everyone woman who has played a hand in my upbringing. There was a lesson to be learned from short of conversations to long semesters of close work. The most important thing that I have observed from the women in my life, is that to be strong you have to believe in your cause and yourself. There will always be a force ready to turn your down, but if your foundation is strong and your will to survive is stronger, you can not fail.” -Terea Abernathy (‘17), Auburn University


“My role model is my Grandma. She was one of the most independent and encouraging people I ever knew. She always went after what she wanted, like a degree in Physics in the 1940s at Purdue University. She also always followed her dreams, which has inspired me to do the same. I don’t know where I would be as a strong, independent woman without her.” -Sarah Justus, University of South Carolina



“This is such a hard question! I truly believe that I’m a product of all of the driven, larger-than-life women I’ve been raised by and have grown up with. There’s truly so many women I could mention- my Mom, her friends, my friends, coaches, teachers. But, there’s one woman that comes to mind, my friend Addie. It’s not everyday you meet someone who has dealt with so many hardships all before the age of 22. Her resilience and individuality reminds me everyday that life’s short, but we’ll all be okay if we’re honest with ourselves and accepting of all that life has to offer. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she’s a kick-ass model with a great personality to boot!” -Lexi Hill, University of South Carolina


“Oprah Winfrey has to be my biggest role model. Growing up as a survivor of sexual abuse and experiencing the loss of an infant, Oprah built herself up from her lowest of lows and has turned into one of the most influential women of the world. She has co-authored five books, which include wise words that I love to live by everyday. I also highly admire The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a school Oprah designed to educate and develop the leadership skills of young women in South Africa. Through her countless actions and accomplishments, Oprah has given women and girls all over the world the faith and confidence to be the very best version of themselves, which I will be forever grateful for.” -Maddie Cammarota, University of South Carolina


“A female role model I admire is Tina Fey. She doesn't conform to the standards the media has on women and really embraces her own personality. You can tell she is completely genuine which is what sets her apart to me. She is mostly known for being a hilarious person but I also think it's important to recognize how ambitious she is and successful she has made herself. She definitely is someone I use as inspiration when I feel like giving up on my goals.” -Marie Knoll, University of South Carolina


“My role model is my mom because she is one of the strongest and most positive people I know. After she was diagnosed with Lymphoma last year she never lost hope and is now cancer free and stronger than ever. I strive to be even half the woman she is one day. Her resilience and overall caring attitude is what everyone who knows her loves about her. I think a role model is someone who inspires you with actions, rather than words.” -Becca Brennan, University of South Carolina


“As a girl who genuinely appreciates comfortable, yet fashionable clothing, I’d have to say that Coco Chanel is a big inspiration to me. People do not usually associate her iconic fashion brand with comfort, but when she was just starting out that is exactly how she got her edge.  She realized that there was a way for women to be able to move freely in their clothes the same way as men are able to. Coco Chanel inspires me because she realized that men and women are exactly the same, and can achieve the same, as long as they are given the same tools for success.  As a girl who is trying to break into an industry that is full of men this is something that I try to remind myself everyday.” -Katie Mauck, University of South Carolina